Burns war with APS centers on two words

They argue to judge about opening utility’s books

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The question of whether utility regulator Bob Burns gets to grill the top executive at Arizona Public Service and review the company’s political spending could turn on what a judge decides is the meaning of the word “and.”

What is clear is the Arizona Constitution spells out that “the Corporation Commission, and the several members thereof” have the power to “inspect and investigate” the books, methods and affairs of any corporation whose stock is sold in Arizona. That same section says that power extends “to enforce the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence by subpoena.”

On Tuesday, Matthew Price, an attorney for APS, urged Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley to read that as applying solely to the commission as a whole — at least by majority vote — and not any individual commissioner. He said if the crafters of the Arizona Constitution wanted to empower individual commissioners, they would have used the word “or.”

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